PASSION FLOWER Passiflora incarnata
Passion Flower does not, as the name might suggest, rouse passion - quiet to the contrary. Instead, Passionflower received its name from the zealous missionaries who overran South America. They perceived the beautiful flower as a symbolic representation of the Passion of Christ. The styles are seen as the nails with which Christ was nailed to the cross and the 3 anthers may represent the hammers used to drive them in - or the holy trinity. The corona, the colourful filaments are interpreted as the crown of thorns - or as Christ's halo, while the corolla is said to represent the 10 apostles without Judas and Peter. Interpretations may vary, but they all follow along these lines. Passiflora is a highly divers genus of mostly tropical species. However, some few varieties also thrive in temperate climates, including the strikingly beautiful Passiflora incarnata.
Passionflower is a wonderful, safe sedative and relaxing herb. It is not narcotic and non-habit forming, rather, it is a nervine, that acts to relax and soothe an overactive, stressed or worried nervous system. It is excellent in cases where persistent anxieties disturb sleep patterns. It also has a spasmolytic action and can be used to treat conditions such as Parkinson's, hysteria, cramps and spasms. It can be combined with other herbs to add such a relaxant component to a compound remedy, e.g. to treat menstrual discomfort or pain.
Passionflower plays a role in Christian plant symbolism as a representation of the Passion of Christ. Natives of the Amazon however, saw a helpful plant ally that is at times mixed into Ayahuasca brews to intensify the visions. Passionflower can be used for meditation, to help calm an overactive mind and finding inner peace. It may also be used for dream work.